Sex Trafficking as a News Story: Evolving Structure and Reporting Strategies

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This quantitative content analysis uses sex trafficking as a case study to understand how news reporting techniques evolve as a social problem emerges on the public agenda. Results indicate that as news organizations became more experienced in covering trafficking and the public made more aware of trafficking as a social issue, journalists moved from routines that favored official perspectives and frames that concentrated on individuals, to the sociocultural level, in which knowledgeable sources attempted to explain why trafficking occurs, and to an institutional level, in which strategies for intervention were proposed and debated. In this way, the newsworthiness of trafficking is sustained.

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